Greek and Latin Roots: “L” Base Words

More classical base words again, this time ones that start with “L.” Please keep in mind that these are base words, rather than prefixes or suffixes. We’ll come to those in a later post (though there are already some preliminary posts under the “affixes” tag). If you want to review the rest of the base words we’ve covered so far, here are the posts to go over:

Base Meaning Example
lab take syllable
labor work laborious
later side unilateral
lav wash lavatory
leg, lig, lect pick, read legible, eligible, collect
leo(n) lion leonine
libr book library
lingu language linguistics
liter letter literate
lith stone monolith
loc(at) place local, location
locut, loqu speak, talk elocution, eloquent
log word, reason, study logic
luc, lumin light lucid, luminous
lud, lus play, trick, mock elude, illusion
lup wolf lupine

Greek and Latin Roots: “I,” “J,” and “K” Base Words

Time for our next installment in this tour through classically derived English vocabulary: base words starting with “I,” “J,” and “K.” (There aren’t too many of each, so I decided to combine them.) If you want to review previous letters, you can refer to the links below:

Remember, these are all base words. I’ll tackle classical affixes (prefixes and suffixes) in a later series.

Base Meaning Example
i(t) go transient, exile
iatr doctor pediatrician
ig(u), ag, act drive, go ambiguous, agile, action
jac, ject throw eject
kilo thousand kilogram

Greek and Latin Roots: “H” Base Words

Somehow we’ve made it to “H” in our tour of classically derived English vocabulary! Again, these are all bases: the foundations to which we add affixes to form words. Affixes are coming in a later post. If you’d like to review past letters, use the links below

Base Meaning Example
habit dwell, keep inhabit
hal(e) breathe inhale
haute high “haute couture”
(h)em, hemat blood anemia, hematology
hemer day ephemeral
hemi one half hemisphere
hepta seven heptagon
her, hes stick, cling adhere, cohesive
hexa six hexagon
hor(o) hour horoscope
horr frighten horror
hum damp earth humidity
human human being, mankind humane
hydr(o) water hydrant
hypno sleep hypnosis

Greek and Latin Roots: “G” Base Words

We’re trucking right along in this overview of classical base words! Our next installment is the letter “G.” If you want to review previous letters, you can refer to the list of links below:

Base Meaning Example
gam marriage monogamy
ge(o) earth geography
gen(er) be born, give birth, produce genius, generation
ger(ont) elderly geriatric
glob globe, sphere globular
gnos(t) read, know diagnose
grad, gress step, go gradual, congress
graph, gram write, draw photograph, telegram
greg flock, herd gregarious, congregate
gyn(ec) woman misogyny

Greek and Latin Roots: “F” Base Words

Today’s list of classically-derived word bases is another longer one, so buckle up. If you’d like to brush up on previous entries:

Base Meaning Example
fac(t), fect, feit, fic, fit do, make facilities, factory, benefit
fal(l), fals, fail, fault false, mistake, fail fallible, default
fel cat feline
fend, fens strike offend, defense
fer, lat bear (v.), bring, go confer, collate
fess speak confess
fin(it) end, limit, term final, finite
flat air, blow inflate
flect, flex bend deflect, reflex
foc focus focal
for hole, opening, doorway perforated
forc, fort power, strength, strong enforce, fortify
form form, shape formal
fo(u)nd, fus pour, melt foundry, refund, confuse
fum smoke, vapor fumigate
funct perform function

Greek and Latin Roots: “E” Base Words

We’re chugging right along in our classical tour of English vocabulary. If you’d like to review, or if you’ve just joined us, here are earlier posts:

Today’s list is pretty short. It has just four items.

Base Meaning Example
ec(o) environment, home ecology
elephan elephant elephantine
enni, annu year perennial
erg work ergonomic

Friendly reminder: these are base words, rather than affixes; these are the foundations onto which affixes are attached.

Greek and Latin Roots: “D” Base Words

We’re already at “D” in our journey through classical base words. If you’d like a refresher of posts past, help yourself:

I will absolutely be taking a second look at affixes from Greek and Latin, but for now I’m looking at base words (sometimes called root words). It’s a short list again this week, but useful!

Base Meaning Example
dec(im)(em) ten December, decimate
dei, divin god deity, divinity
dem the people epidemic
dent tooth dentist
derm(at) skin hypodermic, dermatology
dexter, dextr right hand dexterity
dic(t) say, speak, tell predict
dos(e), dot(e) give dosage, antidote
duc, duct lead (verb) induce, deduct
dyam power, strength, strong dynamic

Greek and Latin Roots: “C” Base Words

“C” is for cookie, that’s good enough for me…

“C” is the next stop on our journey through classical base words. This is our longest list so far, and there are quite a few helpful base words in here; you might want to take some notes. As always, this list is taken from Appendix C in Greek and Latin Roots: Keys to Building Vocabulary, with some small changes of my own in the “Example” column. You can see the “A” words here and the “B” words here.

Remember, these are base words, or stems: these are the main “chunks” onto which affixes are added, rather than actual affixes.

Base Meaning Example
can dog canine
cap(t), cept, ceive take, seize, get capture, receive, perception
caps case capsule
cardi heart cardiac
ce(e)d, cess go, move, yield recede, proceed, excess
celer swift accelerate
cent one hundred century
cent(e)r center eccentric
chrom color chromatic
chron(o) time chronic
cid, cis cut, kill genocide, excise
clam(at), claim shout proclamation, exclaim
class classic neoclassic
clin lie, lean recline
clud, clus, clos close, shut exclude, inclusion, enclose
col strain, sieve percolate
corn(u) eagle cornucopia
cosm(o) world, order cosmetic
cotta cooked, baked terra cotta
cred(it) believe incredible
cu(m)b lie, lean incubate, incumbent
cur(s), cour(s) run, go concur, cursive, courier, course
cuss hit, strike percussion
cycl(e) wheel bicycle

Greek and Latin Roots: “B” Base Words

Our next stop through classical root words is “B.” It’s a short list this time around! Again, these are all taken from Appendix C in Greek and Latin Roots: Keys to Building Vocabulary, with some small changes of my own in the “Example” column. You can see the “A” words here.

Remember, these are base words, or stems: these are the main “chunks” onto which affixes are added, rather than actual affixes.

Base Meaning Example
barbar savage; savagery barbarian
bell(i), bellum war belligerent, antebellum
bi(o) live, life biography, biology
bibli(o) book bibliography
bol throw symbol
bon, bene good, well bonanza, benefit
bov cow bovine
brev short abbreviation
bys bottom abyss

Greek and Latin Roots: “A” Base Words

I’d like to return to my series on affixes for a while and talk about Greek and Latin roots. These roots refer not only to affixes, but base words (also called “stems”; these are the main word to which affixes or prefixes are added) as well.

Again, for teachers, I would still highly recommend the book Greek and Latin Roots: Keys to Building Vocabulary. For students, I would like to feature what is probably the most useful chunk of the book here: common classical roots of English vocabulary. All content here, while essentially common etymological knowledge, I’m taking from Appendix C of Greek and Latin Roots, with periodic changes in the sample words (just because I felt like it). Since I’ve already talked (to an extent) about affixes, I’d like to start with base words. No Swedish translations are given this time, as they would be much more difficult to sort, and not nearly as helpful.

Base Meaning Example
(a)llel one another parallel
ag, act, igu drive, go agile, action, ambiguous
adelph brother Philadelphia (“the city of brotherly love”)
aer(o) air, wind aerate, aerobic
agog(ue), agogy lead (verb) pedagogy, synagogue
al, alma nourishing alimony, alma mater
alg pain, ache nostalgic, analgesic
am(a), amat, amor love, friend amiable, amateur, amorous
ambul walk ambulatory
angel messenger angelic
angle angle triangle, quadrangle
anim life, soul animate
annu, enni year annual, perennial
anthrop(o) human being, mankind anthroplogy
ap(i) bee apiary
aqu,aqua water aqueduct, aquarium
aquil eagle aquiline
astr(o) star astronomy
athl contest, struggle athlete
audi, audit hear, listen audience, audition
avi bird* avian, aviator

*Note that this one has also become synonymous with flight; while “avian” means “pertaining to birds” and an “aviary” is large, enclosed space to keep birds, an “aviator” is not a bird, but a human being who pilots an airplane (or other flying machine).

If the sample words are new to you, or you’re not sure how they connect to the meaning of the base word, I recommend looking them up in the Online Etymological Dictionary.